Sourc­ing Wine:

Expat Living (Singapore) - - Contents -

A visit to the vine­yards of Italy

The Road Trip

Af­ter five days of crazi­ness in Verona, we were happy to head north to the pho­to­genic Dolomite moun­tains, stop­ping at two Trentino cel­lars, then push­ing east to Fri­uli for tast­ings at our two most enig­matic winer­ies. Next, we drove south­west to Veneto for a tour of our bio­dy­namic win­ery, Tasi, be­fore head­ing south to the “boot” of Italy through Emilia-ro­magna and into the Marche re­gion.

From the Mon­tepul­ciano vines of Marche, we moved to the Sa­grantino vines of Um­bria in cen­tral Italy, where we got to learn about the re­search on polyphe­nols (a chem­i­cal com­pound found to have health ben­e­fits) in Sa­grantino grapes, and why wine­maker Ce­sarini Sar­tori is now mak­ing juice and jam from this “heart-healthy” grape.

There wasn’t much time for sight­see­ing, but we did man­age a quick trip to the old town of As­sisi’s 13th-cen­tury church, be­fore head­ing fur­ther west and then north to Tus­cany and Pied­mont. We ended our grand tour drink­ing “noble” wines and tak­ing in the im­pres­sive scenery in Lom­bardy.

What stands out above ev­ery­thing on a trip like this – even be­yond the beau­ti­ful vino – is the hu­mil­ity and pas­sion of the wine­mak­ers. As the es­tates we work with are small-pro­duc­tion and fam­ily-run, you’ll find hus­bands and wives, daugh­ters and sons, all do­ing their part to make their dreams a re­al­ity. They epit­o­mise the ex­pres­sion that wine is “bot­tled po­etry”, with their love of en­demic vines and per­sonal ded­i­ca­tion to their craft; you’ll find them down in the vine­yards check­ing the new buds, clean­ing equip­ment in the cel­lars, check­ing sam­ples from the bar­rels, and de­sign­ing the lo­gos and la­bels. This ded­i­ca­tion means lit­tle time for the tra­di­tional forms of mar­ket­ing, which is why we love telling sto­ries on their be­half – and it’s an hon­our and a plea­sure to do so.

High­lights

• Hear­ing about Fiorentino Po­jer’s se­cre­tive grap­pa­mak­ing process, which pre- dates the Po­jer & San­dri wine­mak­ing cel­lar in the Trentino-alto Adige re­gion. • A visit to the half-fin­ished un­der­ground cel­lar of wine­maker Dami­jan Pod­ver­sic and his daugh­ter Ta­mara, who showed us the spe­cial soil (and rocks) that gives their orange wine its unique char­ac­ter. • See­ing wine­maker Edi Kante’s per­sonal art­work (also used on his bot­tle la­bels) dis­played on the walls of his cave-like cel­lar in Fri­uli. • Stop­ping to see the iron in the soil and Neb­bi­olo grape buds in the Gat­ti­nara vine­yards at Paride Iaretti, while en route to a panoramic view­point over­look­ing the sur­round­ing vol­canic hills; a tast­ing in the cel­lar to com­pare dif­fer­ent vin­tages de­vel­op­ing in the bar­rels fol­lowed. • Our walk up the sweep­ing path to the Castello di Ci­gog­nola, a win­ery si­t­u­ated at a his­toric cas­tle in­au­gu­rated in 1212 ( the brand’s award- win­ning Bar­bera wine is named Dod­ici Dod­ici, or “twelve twelve”), and try­ing the vine­yard’s new Per Papa wine, ded­i­cated to the win­ery pa­tri­arch who re­cently passed away; the bot­tle’s la­bel fea­tures two an­gels seen in the cas­tle’s paint­ings.

Lunch at Pravis win­ery

Castello di Ci­gog­nola

Wine­maker Clau­dio Mar­i­otto ages Ti­morasso grape skins in an old-fash­ioned clay am­phora

Clean­ing cel­lar equip­ment at Pravis win­ery

Bio­dy­namic prosecco at Tasi

Gat­ti­nara soil

Po­jer & San­dri

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